WWI Wrecks

The British cruiser HMS Drake in the United States in 1909.
The British cruiser HMS Drake in the United States in 1909. On October 2nd 1917 HMS Drake was was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-79

Divers reminded not to disturb protected wrecks off Northern Ireland

A prolonged period of sunshine and calm seas over the summer has led to an increase in the numbers of people visiting the historic wrecks which lie off Northern Ireland's shore.

Of the 340 known ship and plane wrecks within Northern Irish waters, only two have special levels of protection;  La Girona, a warship of the Spanish Armada which sank near Portballintrae in 1588, and HMS Drake, a WW1 cruiser that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in 1917 and sank in Rathlin Bay.

Admiral Graf von Spee's famous flagship, SMS Scharnhorst. The wreck has now been located off the Falkland Islands

Wreck of Famed WWI Heavy Cruiser SMS Scharnhorst Discovered off Falklands

The wreck of the German battlecruiser SMS Scharnhorst, sunk by the Royal Navy during the First World War with the loss of all her crew and Admiral Graf von Spee has been found in the South Atlantic. SMS Scharnhorst, the flagship of the East Asia Squadron which was once the scourge of the Royal Navy, went down with most of the rest of the formation on December 8, 1914, in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

The battlecruiser sank on Dec. 8, 1914, with more than 800 crew members on board, including German Adm. Maximilian Graf von Spee.

Scharnhorst bow

Malta's Deep-Water Wrecks

Diver on wreck of the Polynesian, Malta (45-65m)

Ranging from calm shore dives for beginner divers to technical diving on elusive, unmarked wreck sites, which can only be found via depth sounder—diving in Malta has it all. Just beyond Malta’s dramatic underwater landscapes of strange rock formations, chimneys and caves, visitors can discover Malta’s intriguing and piquant past.

Scapa Flow: WWI Wreck Legacy & Recent Discoveries

Historical photo showing destroyers of the German High Seas Fleet sinking in Scapa Flow (Orkney Library Archives / public dom

Separated from the northern coast of mainland Scotland by only the six-mile-wide channel of the Pentland Firth, Orkney has some 90 islands, only 18 of which are inhabited. In the southern region of the archipelago is the large area of sheltered water known as Scapa Flow. Scapa Flow was the base chosen by the British Admiralty as the home of the Grand Naval Fleet.

Scapa 100: Centenary Anniversary Event

The Reflection at Sea ceremony on NLV Pharos took place around the site of SMS Dresden II, commemorating the centenary anniversary of the scuttling of the WWI German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, Scotland, in 1919. Photo by Niki Wilson.

Friday, 21 June 2019. Dawn broke on the longest day of the year in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. In reality, at this latitude, the summer evenings are almost endless as nights do not exactly get as black as pitch this time of the year. As the islands and inhabitants slept, the charcoal smudge of dusk had gradually darkened during the wee small hours. Twilight broke early, with first light at 2:32 a.m.

Scapa Flow: Centenary of the Scuttle of the Imperial German High Seas Fleet

Fractured turbine blades, Scapa Flow. Photo © Bob Anderson.

One hundred years ago this year, on 21 June 1919, 74 warships of the Imperial German Navy High Seas Fleet were scuttled en masse at Scapa Flow, the deep natural harbour set in the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland that was the WWI base for the Royal Navy Grand Fleet. The scuttle was the greatest single act of maritime suicide the world has ever seen.

SMS Friedrich Carl

The armored cruiser Carl Friedrich was constructed in the year 1902 at the well-known shipyard of Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, Germany. The armored cruiser had a length of 126m and was equipped with an impressive array of guns and torpedo launchers. She was the second ship of the Prinz Adalbert class when she was commissioned by the Imperial German Navy on the 12 December 1903.